Members of the Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) Early Careers Group (ECG) were invited to a site visit HS2 Area East Euston approach, on 18th April 2023. Hosted by Cementation Skanska, where it is conducting the major piling works for the joint venture between Skanska, Costain and STRABAG, the event was well attended by individuals from piling contractors and consulting engineers, with representations from Murphy, Expanded Piling, Foundation Piling, GSS, Roger Bullivant, Volker Ground Engineering and Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions. Job roles spanned designers, project managers, estimators, and quantity surveyors, with varying levels of experience and knowledge, which brought lots of great engagement and knowledge sharing!
Chris Roberts, Project Manager for Cementation Skanska presented to the group about the five different assets they are contracted to for the Area East. Chris explained the various piling techniques that are required as part of works and ran through the various designs required. As part of the project, rotary bored piles up to 1.8m in diameter and maximum depths of 50m are being installed, plunge columns for temporary and permanent works, contiguous piled walls, and a secant shaft. The piling works are to accommodate the tunnels and new running lines coming into Euston.
It was great to hear about the innovative work they are doing, particularly with the use of VacEx, to ensure zero trim on the majority of the piles cast, which allows for significant carbon savings and improvements for health and safety on site. It was interesting also to hear how they are utilising basalt reinforcement on site for temporary works, and sparked discussion on how other piling contractors could us it and how it may be used in the future.
After the presentation, Chris and the team escorted the ECG members around the site and explained the different operations. There was a lot of interest regarding the Bauer eBG33 rig on site, in particular how it was powered by utilising an electric drive to replace the diesel engine plugged directly into a sub-station on site, the environmental benefits, and the issues they faced initially and how they were rectified. It was clear that innovation wasn’t just limited to the techniques, the other rigs on site all used HVO fuels as standard and are exploring the use of hydrogen.
The preliminary test piles that were tested as part of the early works were exposed on site; it was great to see the test pile arrangement and how Cementation Skanska utilised their new 40MN load test frame for the working test piles on the project.
A big thank you to Cementation Skanska for facilitating this visit, it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
“I always enjoy attending the FPS ECG events, particularly today’s visit to Cementation Skanska – HS2 East Approach. The visit began with a presentation, providing an overview of the project, different piling methodologies used and new innovative technologies. I was really impressed using basalt (appose to steel) for pile protection covers, along with both electric and hydrogen powered piling rigs. It’s good to see piling companies playing a part in helping to reduce our carbon footprint.
What is also great about the FPS ECG site visits is that you get exposure to different geotechnical disciplines/new ideas that you might not encounter in your day-to-day role. For example, I learnt about the use of polymer in piling to support the pile bores when drilling. It’s also nice to meet/catch-up with other people in my industry who work for different geotechnical companies”.